bite me, thomas

Just in time for holiday shopping, those of us who had to return items from the Thomas the Tank Engine trains because they were recalled for lead paint contamination were just sent a friendly email from RC2 Corporation, Thomas’ manufacturer.

Dear Thomas Wooden Railway Parent,

Because you participated in our recent recall relating to Thomas Wooden Railway toys, we thought this information regarding our production quality assurance and testing practices may be of interest to you.

RC2, the parent company of Learning Curve and creator of Thomas Wooden Railway toys, was featured in news coverage concerning the actions toy manufacturers have taken to ensure the quality of their toys and to ensure your child’s safety.

We invite you to watch the report that originally aired Monday, October 29 on ABC’s World News Tonight.

Um, pardon me, but you exposed my 3-year-old kid to lead paint. I’m not watching, and I’m not buying. Ever.

diffusion or confusion

The other night I had dinner with a group of people. Two of them had only met me once before. One of those two runs around in a former social circle of mine, the other does not. Despite the fact that when initially meeting them some time ago I had introduced myself as Jessica, and that’s what everyone around here calls me, the former referred to me as Jess in conversation.

It reminded me of the origin of Jess as part of my semi-public life. Continue reading “diffusion or confusion”

tomorrow never comes

Procrastinators have all kinds of things they want to do, they just don’t want to do them today. Maybe they don’t feel like it; maybe there are so many other things they feel like they must do today they can’t possibly contemplate embarking on the others. The problem is that it is always today, and so if you don’t do tasks some today, you will never do them. Sure, one might think changing “someday” to “some today” involves just deleting the middle syllable, but if that was the case then why are there so many things I’ve been meaning to do someday that any realistic appraisal would indicate I’m never going to get around to?

A cognitive-therapish check for “I’ll do it someday” is just to ask oneself: Continue reading “tomorrow never comes”

get a theory, would ya?

I’m currently in midst of writing reviews for 21 NSF proposals (which need to all be filed by 5:00 tomorrow before I head to the airport to fly out to Washington for the Sociology Panel…argh). Having read most all of them at this point, I can make a couple of recommendations to future writers of NSF grants, but I’ll limit myself to just one in this post. This same recommendation flows just as much from my experience editing the journal Mobilization and from watching innumerable job talks over the last decade. That advice is: get a theory.

The biggest problem with the vast majority of these grant proposals is that it is not apparent that many of the authors have a theoretical project at all, or if they even know Continue reading “get a theory, would ya?”